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Homeowner's DIY Plumbing Tools and Gadgets

Updated on May 23, 2015

Must Have DIY Plumbing Tools and Gadgets

As homeowners, we have had to deal with some clogged drains, clogged toilet bowl, cracked toilet tank, leaky and broken bathroom and kitchen faucets, leaking water supply lines, and stuck garbage disposer, to name a few. We were able to fix or remedy most of these plumbing problems and situations with some basic skills, knowledge, willingness and determination, investment in proper tools and gadgets, as well as with the aid of You Tube tutorials or demonstration videos. There are jobs best reserve for licensed plumbers and one should be wise enough to know when it's time to call for professional help. However, we created this lens to help homeowners or aspiring Do-It-Yourself (DIY) individuals who want to save money and do their own self-help repair. One or two calls to a plumber will be enough to invest in a selection of DIY plumbing tools and gadgets.

Photo/Picture Credit: MorgueFile by Clarita

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Toilet Auger - Unclog Your Toilet Bowl

Let's face it, there will be times when your toilet bowl will be clogged up especially if you have more than one bathroom. May be someone used too much tissue, disposed paper towels or sanitary napkins in the bowl, or drop something in there that causes the clog. So what do you do?

The toilet auger is a handy tool if you're trying to unclog a clogged up toilet bowl. If you tried using the trusted old plunger and it still doesn't work, it's time to buy a toilet auger at your local Home Depot, Lowe's or hardware store. Or you can buy from Amazon and store it in the garage for those eventual clogs. There are many different types,, sizes or lengths, however I recommend buying higher quality one that won't rust.

I recommend using a disposable latex or rubber gloves when using the toilet auger. Ensure you clean the auger with disinfectant or multipurpose cleaner , rinse completely, and dry for future use. Do not use anything with Chlorox as this will cause the metal to rust.

Ridgid 59787 K-3 3-foot Toilet Auger with bulb head

How to Clear a Toilet Clog using a Closet Auger

Garbage Disposer Wrench

If you use your family uses the kitchen sink garbage disposer regularly, you'll probably encounter times when it is jammed or stuck up. The broom handle is not an effective way to clear the jam. Most causes are trapped plastic or sandwich bags, rag, fish bones, or may be broken glass. The first step should be to reset the switch at the bottom of the garbage disposer unit, turn on the switch, and listen for weird noises. Next try the garbage disposer wrench as pictured or buy an allen wrench set and get the proper size one. Move the wrench clockwise and counter-clockwise until you can free up the disposal unit. You may have to look inside with a flashlight to see if something was caught in there. If it's plastic or rag, unplug the disposal unit from the outlet inside the kitchen cabinet. Then try to pull the plastic or rag with your hand or a pair of pliers. Once the disposal unit is cleared up of whatever got stuck in there, re-plug the unit back to the electrical outlet and turn the switch on. You may have to depress the reset switch at the bottom of the garbage disposer unit if you didn't do it in the first place.

InSinkErator WRN-00 JamBuster Wrenchette

Unjam Your Disposal

Basin Wrench, Regular or Telescoping

If you plan on replacing your kitchen or bathroom faucet, the basin wrench is a must have plumbing tool as normally there isn't much space underneath the sink to use regular pliers or wrenches. Regular pliers and wrenches are also not big or wide enough for most nuts, fittings, or joints. I recommend buying the telescoping basin wrench in order to get some length adjustment. Spending a few extra bucks would go a long way in avoiding some frustration and difficulty in using the tool to remove or tighten nuts, fittings, joints, or water supply lines.


How to Use a Basin Wrench

Adjustable Wrench or Set

Having a set of adjustable wrenches will give you flexibility to loosen and tighten a variety of nuts, fittings, and water supply lines.

How to Fix a Toilet - Fill Valve Replacement

Grip Lock or Joint Pliers and Set

Regular pliers and adjustable wrenches are just not big or wide enough for some plumbing work. You'll need some Grip Lock pliers or Joint pliers to loosen, remove, or tighten pipe fittings and joints. Buying a set will give you flexibility in choosing the correct size plier for the job.


How to Replace a Leaky Shower Spout and Diverter Valve

Using Allen Wrench Set and Pipe Wrench

Our shower spout and diverter valve has been leaking and I finally had some time to work on it over the Columbus Day holiday. Shower spouts and diverter valves generally come in two types--one is the threaded model and the other one is the slip-on model. If there is a hole and/or an allen screw at the bottom, the spout is a slip-on model. If it doesn't have the allen screw, then it is a threaded model. Our old Kohler spout happens to be a slip-on model.

After getting my bag of my allen wrench set, I found the correct size the fits and loosen the allen screw. I made sure to close the drain beforehand so that in the event I drop something, it would not go in the drain. I then pulled off the spout and took it as a sample at the nearby Lowe's Store. I was able to find a suitable Chrome substitute thought not the White or brushed nickel model I was looking for. With the new one on hand, I cleaned the pipe with a fine grit sandpaper to ensure there would be no burrs to damage the seals. I put a little bit of shampoo on the pipe as a lubricant prior to installing the new spout. I tightened the allen screw and then when everything was secured, tested the operation. After determining there was no leak, I sealed the new spout with bathroom caulk/sealer.

If you happen to have the threaded model, you'll need a pipe wrench or Grip Lock pliers, screwdriver, teflon tape, and a rag. You can watch the following You Tube tutorial before proceeding to ensure you have an idea what to do.

1. Using the rag and the pipe wrench, grip the spout and turn counter-clockwise. You can also use a screwdriver on the spout to turn counter-clockwise. If you are replacing the spout, then you don't really care if you damage the old one.

2. If you have the new replacement threaded spout on hand, then you're almost ready for the installation.

3. Remove any old teflon tape and wrap new teflon tape clockwise. This will prevent any unwanted leak.

4. Install the new spout by threading it clockwise by hand until it sits flush on the tile. If you need to use the pipe wrench, ensure you wrap the new spout with a tower or rag to ensure you don't scratch or damage it.

5. Test the operation and check for leak.

6. Once OK, seal the new spout with bathroom caulk or sealer.

How to Repair Shower Spout Leak or Replace Shower Spout and Diverter Valve

Drain Cleaning Tools

Drain Cleaning Tools are a must for cleaning or unclogging bathroom sink or shower drains. For tougher jobs, a drain snake tool may be necessary.

Cobra Products 00400 Zip-It Drain Cleaning Tool, 12-Pack #00412BL

Cobra Products 83250 1/4-Inch-by-25-Foot Metal Drain Clearing Drum Auger

How to Unclog a Drain Using a Snake Auger

How to clean out a sink drain

Other Home Plumbing Repair Essentials

Use teflon tape to seal pipe threads and fittings.

Use the plumbers putty to seal gaps in kitchen and bathroom faucets.

Kitchen and Bathroom Gadgets

If you want to save from costly plumbing repairs, you can buy some kitchen and bathroom gadgets that will prevent clogged drains.

The Tub Mesh Strainer can catch hair, lint, soap, paper, small toys and bottle caps.

The hair strainer and drain protector will keep your shower drain unclogged and flowing smoothly.

The kitchen drain strainer will prevent the kitchen drain from clogging up or the garbage disposal unit from getting stuck from unwanted debris.

After Reading This Lens, Do You Feel Confident You can Handle Some Plumbing Repairs?

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Guestbook Comments

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    • CustomerCallers profile image

      CustomerCallers 3 years ago

      Nice depth with the information here.

    • profile image

      johnadams7557 4 years ago

      Very nice information. I love to do everything on your own.

      Backflow Testing

    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 4 years ago

      Great Lens thanks for sharing

    • Bovidix profile image

      Bovidix 5 years ago

      Who hasn't had to fix a leaky sink at least once in their lives? Great guide for homeowners, thanks!

    • diypex profile image

      diypex 5 years ago

      It's so interesting to learn where everything came from and makes us grateful for how far we've come. Like plumbing for example. We should all be grateful that we don't have to rely on gravity to move our water anymore.

    • profile image

      amythomson187 5 years ago

      Some great tips and tool suggestions you have here Dan. It's funny, you can save a lot of money by just knowing a few simple things. I just recently opened my lens as i am a plumber myself.... yes little old me ;) heehee

    • Aloha Pinoy profile image
      Author

      Dan & Yollie Bunag 5 years ago from Oahu, Hawaii

      @anonymous: Aloha! Thank you for visiting, Squid-liking, and Squid-blessing our lens. Really appreciate it. Best wishes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Appreciate the tips here, I've got a leaky faucet that I need to attack ... *blessed*

    • senditondown profile image

      Senditondown 5 years ago from US

      Nicely done step by step lens. We all live somewhere and need to be able and ready to do some maintenance should the need arise. Well presented!

    • profile image

      eliezerluardo 6 years ago

      Sydney Plumbing works is really great...It was my experienced too to be in a plumbing industry. The works were great, there is simple and hard.

    • Aloha Pinoy profile image
      Author

      Dan & Yollie Bunag 6 years ago from Oahu, Hawaii

      Transplanted Soul, Thank you for reading and featuring our lens.

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 6 years ago

      I had one toilet I just could not get to flush properly. Replacing it was the only way to fix it. I featured your lense here: Toilet Replacement Guide

    • Aloha Pinoy profile image
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      Dan & Yollie Bunag 6 years ago from Oahu, Hawaii

      @anonymous: h2obuilding, Thanks for visiting, commenting, and Squidliking the lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      That's really a fantastic lens. Really enjoyed while reading those fruitful tips. One can easily perform any kind of leak detection on his own without calling any professional after going through this lens.